How to Store Your Books—Ultimate Guide to Book Storage

Are you struggling to find space for your ever-expanding book collection? In this article, we'll give you the best tips and solutions for book storage. From stylish bookcases to practical shelving, we'll help you organise, display, and (most importantly) protect your books. Whether you have limited space or an extensive library, your favourite literature can be safeguarded for generations!

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14/03/2024

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How to Store Your Books—Ultimate Guide to Book Storage

Are you struggling to find space for your ever-expanding book collection? In this article, we'll give you the best tips and solutions for book storage. From stylish bookcases to practical shelving, we'll help you organise, display, and (most importantly) protect your books. Whether you have limited space or an extensive library, your favourite literature can be safeguarded for generations!

Man on ladder at book shelf

Everything you need to know about book storage!

Building a book collection brings joy and a sense of achievement. However, the more books you accumulate, the more challenging it becomes to store them efficiently and maintain their condition.

Clever book storage is key. Whether transforming small spaces with shelving or using storage boxes to keep books dust-free, the goal is to preserve your collection's accessibility and condition.

Let's dive into the best book storage ideas!

Why is book storage important?

Proper book storage has many advantages, but the main one is protection. Books are vulnerable to environmental factors such as humidity, heat, and direct sunlight.

These elements can lead to pages yellowing, bindings weakening, and covers fading. Correctly storing books helps preserve their physical state, ensuring they remain readable and retain their value over time.

Woman's hand reaching for book

Good storage also means good organisation. An organised collection makes finding specific titles quicker and easier. Neatly displayed books enhance the aesthetic of your living space, turning your collection into decorative objects and talking points.

Organising your books systematically (whether by genre, author, or colour) can make your home more personal and inviting.

Ultimately, storing books isn't just an investment in preserving their condition—it creates an organised and visually appealing living space. It ensures each book continues to inspire and delight you as much as the first time you read it.

How do I protect my books?

Old books

To ensure your books remain in top condition over the years, taking protective measures is essential. Before we get to our storage tips, here's a breakdown of what NOT to do with your books.

  • Avoid contact with water or moisture
    Moisture or water can cause pages to wrinkle and become brittle. Ink may also bleed, affecting other pages.
  • Avoid applying pressure to the spine
    The spine's condition can deteriorate due to age, use, and quality. Excessive pressure may lead to pages loosening and spine damage.
  • Protect from intense and UV light
    Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light or camera flashes can fade illustrations and cover art.
  • Avoid storing in tight, dark spaces
    Pests such as booklice, silverfish, and certain beetles can infest and damage books.
  • Refrain from smoking around books
    Secondhand smoke can permeate books, leaving a persistent odour and residue.
  • Ensure proper packaging for shippingImproperly packaged books are susceptible to damage during shipping. This is especially true for older books with fragile bindings.
  • Do not fold paperback books
    Folding paperbacks can damage the spine, leading to potential tearing.
  • Do not keep books in neglected storage areas
    Books stored in such areas are at risk from damage by rats and other rodents.
  • Only oil leather-bound books if professionally trained
    The longevity of leather-bound books is less about oiling and more about the initial quality and storage conditions. Keep them in dry, well-aired spaces.

Tips to preserve the condition of your books

The above is quite an exhaustive list, isn't it? The fact is, books are delicate, so require a little extra care to keep them in good shape. Below are some key tips to remember:

Use proper shelving

Books on shelves

The last thing you want is cheap shelves collapsing and leaving your masterpieces in messy piles! So, if you're serious about storing books, sturdy wood or metal shelves are worth shipping out for.

Just make sure your books aren't overstacked (which can cause damage), and the shelves aren't overpacked. Essentially, there should be enough space for air to circulate around the books to prevent moisture buildup.

Regularly dust

Ah dust, the book lover's archnemisis. Books can accumulate dust quickly, which can attract pests or lead to mould. The fact is, you can't store books without keeping them free from dust. For books at home or on display, we advise using a duster on the top edge of your books, and wiping down shelves regularly to keep the area clean.

Store valuable books in protective materials

Inkstand, magnifying glass, books

Not all books are valued equally (and we're not talking about the prose!). Rare or antique books need additional protection Acid-free paper can be used to protect the book's cover.

If you're storing them in boxes, choose storage boxes or plastic containers that can block light and protect the books from accidental water damage. Wrapping valuable books in bubble wrap can also provide an extra layer of protection against physical damage.

Use a climate-controlled environment

Given how vulnerable books are to the elements, these environments will do wonders for their longevity. Whether at home or opting for self storage solution, these spaces can protect your books from extreme temperatures and humidity levels, both of which can cause significant damage over time.

How can I store books at my own home?

Books weren't written to be kept out of site, or out of reach. For especially valuable books, more advanced storage solutions may be needed. But when it comes to your total collection, a homegrown storage will be the most attractive. After all, beyond storing it, part of the fun of a growing book collection is how we organise and display it. Below are some homegrown book storage tips:

Solid wood shelves

A solid wood shelf not only offers durability but also add warmth and character to any room. They can be customised to fit any space, making them a perfect solution for storing books in both large and small apartments.

Under-stairs storage units

Stair storage

If it's good enough for Harry Potter, it's good enough for your books! On a serious note, that small space under the stairs can be transformed into a series of storage units. These are perfect for tucking away books and decorative objects (and you can make them look pretty snazzy too!).

Multi-purpose furniture

Furniture that doubles as storage—like beds with built-in drawers or coffee tables with lower shelves—helps save space in your home. This can be a clever way to store books and ensure your collection contributes to the room’s decor.

Don't underestimate the humble cardboard box!

Cardboard box

If you own rarely used books, storing them in cardboard boxes can protect them from dust and damage. Boxes can be kept in a cool, dry place, such as a closet or a self-storage unit, ensuring the books are preserved but still within reach when needed.

Display cases for treasured volumes

These can turn special books into focal points within your room. These cases shield books from dust and damage while allowing you to showcase the most beautiful or meaningful pieces in your collection.

Guide to self storage solutions for books

Storage unit

Sometimes there simply isn't enough storage space for your book collection. This is when you may have to look into self storage solutions. Let's take a look at what to consider when choosing a storage facility for your books:

Choosing the right storage unit

First, you'll need to consider the size of the storage unit you'll need. Once you've got a good idea of the storage space you require, our unit size calculator can let you see which is best suited. You'll also want to ensure the facility offers climate control.

As we previously mentioned, these environments maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level inside the unit, providing the optimal environment for paper preservation.

HOLD specialises in archive and document storage, climate-controlled units at some of the lowest prices in London.

How to prepare books for storage

Clean your books gently to remove any dust or debris. You can also use acid-free paper to wrap older or more delicate volumes to protect them from environmental factors. Consider using labelled cardboard boxes or plastic containers to keep everything organised and easily accessible.

Ensure your books are accessible

It's important to understand how and when you can access your books. Choose a facility that offers convenient access hours that fit your schedule.

HOLD's storage units have 24/7 access, so, if you're desperate to grab that first edition in a hurry, you can get it in a jiffy.

Choose a storage prover with good security

Security is also paramount, so look for storage facilities (like HOLD) that have robust security measures in place. Surveillance cameras, secure entry gates, and individual locks will help those antique books remain safe.

HOLD self storage keeps your books pristine

Our cutting-edge storage facility is located in the heart of Kings Cross, London. With 24/7 access, advanced security measures, and climate-controlled units, we ensure your books remain in top condition. What's more, our friendly storage experts are always on hand if you need help. Reach out to us today for an exclusive offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to store books to prevent damage?

Store books vertically on shelves, ensuring they are not leaning, which prevents spine damage. Keep them in a cool, dry, and dark environment to avoid moisture and sun exposure.

Can I store books in plastic containers?

Yes, plastic containers are suitable for book storage if they are clean, dry, and used in a climate-controlled environment to prevent moisture buildup.

How do I protect my books from pests?

Keep books in a clean, dry area. Use airtight containers if necessary and regularly inspect your storage area for signs of pests.

Is it okay to store books in the attic or basement?

It's generally not recommended unless these areas are climate-controlled. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can harm books.

How should I store old or antique books?

Antique books should be stored flat to protect their spines, away from direct light, and in climate-controlled conditions to preserve their condition.

Does HOLD offer book storage services?

Yes, HOLD provides specialised storage solutions for books. Our facilities ensure optimal conditions to preserve the integrity of your books, protecting them from temperature variations, humidity, and pests.

Is storage insurance available for books stored with HOLD?

Yes, HOLD offers comprehensive storage insurance options for books stored in our facilities. This insurance coverage is designed to provide peace of mind by protecting your valuable collection against potential risks such as damage, theft, or loss while in our climate-controlled environments

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